Archive | April, 2014

High Five (why MTB racers rock)

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Everyday I field hundreds of emails (not really, not even one) about why I am such a fan of pro mountain bike racing over pro road racing. Well, aside from that fact that I race mountain bikes (or a cross bike on gravel), I don’t really don’t dig the modern-day road racing vibe. On top of that, I’ve only competed in ONE (paved) road race in my entire life (A local race in which I got dropped within the first few miles and rode the next 27 miles solo). I just dig the mountain bike race vibe more than that of our skinny-tired brothers and sisters.

And as if I needed anymore evidence to justify my position, I give you the video clip below (taken via RedBull.TV at round 2 of the UCI XCO World Cup) of Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing)…

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The Circle of Death

Note: This post appeared on xxcmag.com in the winter of 2013. I really dig the post and since I’m not sure how much longer xxcmag.com will be live, I am preserving it here, so as not to let the post go to waste.

All too often modern-day riders and racers get caught up in Facebook, Twitter, message board and Strava pissing contests about their training, riding and racing and lose sight of the feats that our brothers and sisters have done before us.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the amazing adventures, rides and races that folks are doing on their bikes these days; i.e.Tour Divide, Iditarod Trail Invitational, Arrowhead 135, Trans Iowa, etc., etc., (all those races that I lack the talent, skills and man-giblets to ever attempt) I just think that on occasion we need to put some things into perspective and call attention to some past events, races and the vintage bad ass riders of yesteryear.

In the case of today’s post we are actually highlighting one of the hardest stages ever, in what is known as the hardest version, of what is arguably the most popular bike race in the world– The Tour de France. Stage 10 of the 1926 Tour de France to be exact.

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A Saturday of Racing

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I don’t consider myself much of a mountain bike racer anymore. I no longer worry about planning a season, sponsorship proposals, race nutrition or how many hours I’m getting in on the bike. I’m also finding that where I once gravitated towards races of six to twenty-four hours in length, I am now drawn towards shorter marathon races (in the 50 mile range) and cross-country racing.

There is a variety of reasons for this: some burnout, some “been there, done that” attitude (seriously, there is no need for me to EVER do another 24 hour race in this lifetime), increased parental responsibilities and demands, and of course my recent history of DVTs and being on blood thinning medication. If I am going to crash and potentially have a bleeding issue, I would rather do it on a 10 mile loop with easy access to help, rather than in the middle of nowhere during a 100 mile race.

Still, no matter the length, I enjoy racing and continue to do it just as unsuccessfully as I did five years ago, This time making sure that I don’t take it too seriously.

With that lengthy, un-needed introduction out of the way, I now move on to yet another un-needed race recap that truly did not need to be written, this time from Saturday’s MMCC Rust Shaker XC race in Harrison, Michigan.

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A Normal Weekend

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After a long, long, LONG Michigan winter, it has been nice to get back to “normal” weekends. By “normal” I of course mean weekends that have way more riding than staring out of windows cursing the snow and ice.

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Friday Bike-ness

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It was hard not to ride today given how nice it was outside today. It was harder still knowing that a bunch of my friends were riding the trails at MMCC today while I spent the day going to the doctors, baking bread, doing loads of laundry and hanging out with the B-Man who was off from school today. It’s not much of a life, but it’s the only one I got right now. Oh well, there was still much bike-ness crammed in there.

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Never Sure

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I’m never sure whether to love fruit, hate fruit, laugh at fruit or be scared and run the fuck away from fruit. Jesus H., look at this strawberry! It looks like something they lopped off an old man’s back.

Other than a trip to the gym to work on my glutes and pecs, today was something less than special. Oh well, it could be worse.

Later.

The Trip Home

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The Trip Home, Part I

I’m finally back from a whirlwind few days of travel. Wifey, B-Man and I headed back to Pittsburgh to be with family and say goodbye to Wifey’s grandmother. A long trip for a funeral is something that no one ever wants to do, nor is introducing your ten-year old son to the grieving process, but both are part of life.

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